Is the debate about "art vs. craft" actually a secondary effect of real differences in audience preference? If the difference rests in audience preferences then the debate about an item's category becomes pointless. Instead, we should shift to a study of what kind of audience prefers more complex haptic stimuli.
Supposition I - Audience maturity
a) Is an interest in image the indication of a young audience, new audience, or beginner audience, in that the purpose of the viewer is to get the point, the point of the story, to find the reason for reading the piece (e.g., the moral of the story)?
b) Is an interest in haptic qualities the sign of a mature audience, one that seeks unknown and unfamiliar stimulus that reaches beyond a simple reading?
Supposition II - Audience politics
a) Is the viewer's interest in paint qualities, for example, that of a traditionalist, a newly art-educated viewer, or someone just starting to view art in galleries and museums?
b) Is the viewer's interest in non-paint qualities associated with one of several political movements such as feminism, craft activism, anti-art, or other stance that identifies them with a body of knowledge?
Supposition III - Audience aesthetics
a) Is the viewer's interest in non-paint qualities associated with any particular set of technical knowledge (scientific, new media, ...)?
b) Is the viewer's interest in non-paint qualities a result of interest in psychological or phenomenological response and association, effects that require a certain lived experience to interpret?